Seventy-five-year-old Joe Biden said that age is a “totally legitimate” and “relevant” consideration for voters during presidential elections.
Although Biden has not yet said whether he’ll run in 2020, the former vice president and senator would be 77 by the start of the primary contests — and 78 by Inauguration Day in 2021.
No president has ever taken office at that age.
"I think it’s totally appropriate for people to look at me and say if I were to run for office again, ‘Well, God darn, you’re old.’ Well, chronologically, I am old,” Biden said at the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan on Tuesday, CNN reported. The comment came during a question-and-answer session in response to inquiries about mandatory retirement ages in Congress and term limits for Supreme Court justices.
“Every voter is entitled to know exactly what kind of shape you’re in,” Biden continued. “You owe it to them. It’s a legitimate question, and so I think age is relevant.”
The question of age is an old one, and this is not the first time Biden has raised the issue.
Age and health concerns were raised during the 2016 presidential race, which featured Trump, then 70, and Hillary Clinton, then 68. Trump, who is now 72, became the oldest president sworn into office, though Ronald Reagan, who was nearly 74 at the time of his reelection, remains the oldest president elected in U.S. history.
Biden potentially faces a wide range of Democratic hopefuls, on various ends of the age spectrum. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is 77, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is 69; younger contenders could include Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), 49, and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), 53.
“I think it's up to the judgment of the people whether the person that holds that office in fact has the capacity to hold the office,” Biden said.